Sunday, December 25, 2016, 11:11 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Amazing Grace.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read 1 Corinthians 2 (NASB).
The Power of God (vv. 1-5)
And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.
So, how do we know when the teaching we are listening to comes from the wisdom of men or from the power of God? We have to test everything we hear against the Word of God, and his divine character and will, and see if it is consistent with God’s Word and with his divine character. Also, if we are truly followers of Jesus Christ, and his Spirit is living within us, if we are listening, and receptive to what the Lord wants to teach us, his Spirit within us will quicken our hearts and will let us know when something isn’t right.
In addition to this, if we are students of the Word of God, and if we know his Word, we should be able to discern when liars and deceivers, or when the naïve speak words, as though they are from God’s Word, when they are not. To check out whether or not a preacher/speaker is speaking the truth from God’s Word, we should read the scripture in context, and then compare scripture with scripture to get the full understanding of what is being taught. But, we must do this prayerfully, seeking guidance and understanding from the Holy Spirit, who will teach us all things.
The Wisdom of God (vv. 6-9)
Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are mature; a wisdom, however, not of this age nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away; but we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory; the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory; but just as it is written,
“Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard,
And which have not entered the heart of man,
All that God has prepared for those who love Him.”
So what is this wisdom that, if the rulers of that age had understood it, it would have prevented them from crucifying Jesus? Well, for one, it was that Jesus Christ, God incarnate, was their promised Messiah for whom they had been waiting a very long time, and for whom the vast majority of Jewish people continue to wait, because they rejected Jesus as their Messiah (Christ). Jesus is the fulfillment of the prophecies about the Messiah (Christ), who was to come. He is their Savior; their Lord God. He is their King of kings and Lord of lords. He is the one who came to save them from their sins. There is no other, no matter how long they wait. He is their ONLY Messiah.
So, what is it today, if the people truly understood it, would keep them from crucifying him all over again, by how they live their lives in opposition to him? It would be that Jesus did not die just so they could escape hell and go to heaven when they die. It would be that we can’t earn our way to heaven by good works, and that all people don’t go to heaven when they die, no matter how many good things they do on this earth. And, it would be that Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.
You see, the reason Jesus died to save us from sin was not just we could escape punishment, but so that we would live for him who died for us. He didn’t die just to save us, but to transform us. Coming to faith in Jesus Christ is not a free ride to heaven while we live like hell while we are on the earth. God does demand repentance and obedience for salvation, but he gives us the ability to repent and obey him. We don’t do this in our own flesh, but in the power of the Spirit. God’s grace to us is not a free license to continue in sin. His grace teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we wait for Christ’s return. When we believe in Jesus, we are crucified with Christ in death to sin, and we are resurrected with him to new lives in Christ (born again), to be lived in the power of the Spirit to Christ’s righteousness.
What all has God prepared for those who love him? He delivered us out of sin so that we would no longer walk (in lifestyle) according to our sinful nature, living to satisfy its lustful desires, but so we would conduct our lives according to the Spirit, putting to death the deeds of the flesh. Paul was called to open blinded eyes, and to turn them from darkness (sin) to light (truth, Jesus, righteousness), and from the power of Satan to God, so they might receive forgiveness of sins. This is repentance! This is what Jesus died for, to turn us from caterpillars into butterflies, i.e. metamorphosis. Sin kills, but the Spirit gives life, and he died to give us life in the Spirit!! Amen!
The Mind of Christ (vv. 10-16)
For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.
But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one. For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he will instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ.
As genuine believers and followers of Jesus Christ we have the Holy Spirit of God living within us, speaking to us, counseling, correcting, teaching and encouraging us, etc. He guides us into all truth, and he lets us know when we are going astray, if we will listen, and if we will not quench the Spirit. He reveals to us all that God had planned for us from even before the world was formed. And, he leads us in the right way; in the way we should go.
He knows the mind of God; of Christ. Because God/Christ is living within us, in the person of the Holy Spirit (the 3rd person of our triune God), we have the mind of Christ. It doesn’t mean we know everything, as he knows, but that his thoughts are now within us, and we can know him and his will for our lives, and we can feel what he feels, and see what he sees – not everything, but as much as he chooses to reveal to us and we are willing to see, I believe. The Spirit living within us reveals to us God’s nature, his character and his will for us, and he shows us how to live godly and holy lives pleasing to God. But, we have to be open to hear his voice, and we have to be responsive to obey what he does show us. Many people don’t obey God, not because they don’t know how, but because they are unwilling.
Those outside of faith in Jesus Christ, including many who proclaim to know him, but who have never really been born again of the Spirit of God, don’t accept these good things God has for us, through his plan of salvation for us, because they don’t have the Spirit of God. Their minds are blinded to the truth. So, they need to have their blinded eyes opened, and be turned from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so they can receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified (made holy) by faith in Jesus Christ, their Lord. So, we need to pray for their salvation.
Amazing Grace / John Newton
Amazing Grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found
Was blind, but now I see.
‘Twas Grace that taught my heart to fear,
And Grace my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear
The hour I first believed.
Through many dangers, toils, and snares
I have already come.
‘Tis Grace hath brought me safe thus far
And Grace will lead me home.
The Lord has promised good to me.
His Word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures.
And when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease;
I shall possess within the veil
A life of joy and peace.
When we’ve been there ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we’d first begun.